How to Backup Google Photos to External Hard Drive

how to backup Google photos to external hard drive - backup and sync Google photos
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Google Photos is an easy and convenient way to store and access your photographs and videos from a variety of different devices. You may have taken the photo with your smartphone, but you can open it on your laptop and make changes — and those changes will be saved across the various devices.

While Google Photos is easy to access and keeps your memories as safe as possible, there may be a time when you want to download your media to another storage device. This may have you wondering how to backup Google photos to external hard drive.

How to Backup Google Photos to External Hard Drive

Using an external hard drive is the best option when it comes to backing up your Google Photos because they have a large storage capacity and are easy to acquire. It’s also possible to download Google Photos to PC, but this will take up space on your computer that you may not be able to spare.

If you have been wondering how to backup Google photos to external hard drive or how to download Google Photos to PC, here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

Step 1: Sign in to Your Google Account

After connecting the hard drive to your computer, the first thing you’ll need to do when asking how to backup Google photos to external hard drive is sign into your Google account.

You can do this from whatever browser you are most comfortable using. You can type “Google Photos” into the search bar, and this will bring you to the screen that will ask for your username and password.

Step 1_ Sign in to Your Google Account - 1

You can also go to your Google Account and type this information in. To get to Google Photos, you’ll need to click on the dots that form a box in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. This will open a menu, and you will click on the Photos option, which looks like a colorful pinwheel.

Step 1_ Sign in to Your Google Account - 2

Step 2: Select Which Photos You Want to Download

If you are only planning on downloading a few photos to your external hard drive, you’ll need to select which ones.

As you hover over the image, you’ll see a checkmark and circle appear in the upper left-hand corner. Click on this to select one or more images to download.

Step 2_ Select Which Photos You Want to Download

Step 3: Download the Photos

Once you have selected the images you want to backup, you will then click on the three dots that appear in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

This will open a menu, and you’ll want to look for the “Download” option.

Click on this.

Step 3_ Download the Photos

Step 4: Find Your Photos

If your computer has a default setting, your pictures will automatically be downloaded to a specific folder. More than likely, it will be your “Downloads” folder, but it may also be your local C: drive.

The photos will be in a zip fileSearch your folders until you find the zip file you’re looking for. If you intended to download Google Photos to PC, then your task is done. They will be in the folder and ready to access when you want them. 

However, if you are asking how to backup Google photos to external hard drive, then you’ll need to complete the following steps to move the zip file from one folder to another.

Step 4_ Find Your Photos pc
Step 4_ Find Your Photos mac

Step 5: Move Your Zip File

Once you have found it, you’ll then need to highlight it by left-clicking on it once. Then, you’ll need to right-click on the file, which will open a menu with various options.

From this list, you will either click the “Copy” option or the “Cut” option

On PC: If you only want the photos to appear on your external hard drive, and not on your computer anymore, then click “Cut.” If you want to copy the pictures, click the “Copy” option.

Step 5_ Move Your Zip File pc

On Mac: To copy the photos, select the Zip file > right-click > “Copy.”

Step 5_ Move Your Zip File mac

Step 6: Find the External Hard Drive Folder

When asking how to backup Google photos to external hard drive, after you have copied or cut the zip file, you’ll then need to find your external hard drive from the list of folder options.

The drive should be listed on the left-hand side of the dialogue box that you have open. Click on the name of the drive.

Step 6_ Find the External Hard Drive Folder pc
Step 6_ Find the External Hard Drive Folder mac

Step 7: Paste the Zip File into the Hard Drive

Once you have the external hard drive open, you will see another dialogue box. You will right-click anywhere in the box and choose the “Paste” option from the list that shows up. This should copy/paste the zip file into the external hard drive.

On PC: On your hard drive, Right-click > “Paste”

Step 7_ Paste the Zip File into the Hard Drive pc

On Mac: On your hard drive, right-click > “Paste Item”

Step 5_ Move Your Zip File mac

Step 8: Unzip the File (Optional)

After you have moved the photos from Google Drive into the external hard drive, you can leave them in the zip file or you can take them out.

Should you decide to take them out, you’ll need to highlight the folder, and then right-click and choose the unzip option. This should release each image from the folder into the external hard drive to make them easier to access.

Step 8_ Unzip the File (Optional) pc
Step 8_ Unzip the File (Optional) mac

How to Backup and Sync Google Photos

The steps listed above will work if you are moving a few images and videos from Google Photos, but if you want to backup and sync all of your images, there is another process to achieve that goal. It’s a good idea to backup and sync Google Photos on a fairly regular basis to ensure you don’t lose any of them.

Here’s how you backup and sync Google Photos:

Step 1: Sign in to Google Takeout

Click on the Google Takeout link. If you aren’t already signed in to your Google Account, you will be prompted to type in your username and password.

Step 2: Click “Deselect All”

After you have signed in to your account, you will be taken to a menu that lists all of the data that is currently stored on your Google Account.

Since you don’t want to export all of it, you’ll want to click “Deselect All,” which is found at the top of the list on the right-hand side.

Step 3: Find and Select Google Photos

If you are wondering how to backup Google photos to external hard drive, after you have deselected all of the items on the list, you’ll then need to scroll down and find Google Photos and click the box so that it is highlighted blue with a white checkmark.

You can then further refine which photo albums are downloaded by clicking on the “All photo albums included” option. This will open another box that shows which albums have been selected. If you don’t want all of them included, you will uncheck them and then click the “OK” button on the bottom.

Step 4: Click “Next step”

Once you have decided which albums you want to include, you will then click the “Next step” button that is found at the bottom of the page.

This will bring you to another menu that will allow you to decide the delivery method, frequency and file size and type.

Since you are wondering how to backup Google photos to external hard drive, under the “Delivery method” section, you’ll need to find the hard drive you want to save your photos to and choose that option.

As for frequency and file size and type, you’ll need to choose which one is best for you based on personal preferences.

Step 5: Click on “Create export”

This button can be found at the bottom of the screen, and once you click it, all of the albums and photos that you wanted to backup and sync will be exported to your external hard drive.

The Best External Hard Drives for Downloading Google Photos

If you’re looking for the best external hard drives for downloading your Google Photos, we have some suggestions of which ones you should check out.

LaCie Rugged Mini 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD

This external hard drive offers up to 2 TB of storage, which should be more than enough to backup and sync your Google Photos. It can resist dust and water, as well as drops from as high as 4 feet. It’s a great option if you find yourself on the go and want a portable, easy-to-use device that keeps all of your data safe.

Check on Amazon ➞
WD 6TB Elements Desktop Hard Drive HDD

If you have a lot of photos, videos, and data that you need to backup, then this device is what you’re looking for. It has the capability to store up to 6 TB of information. It’s not portable, but it’s easy to use and comes with plug-and-play technology.

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SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD

This external hard drive is water and dust-resistant and can store up to 1 TB of data. It is easy to transport from one place to another, and it can withstand drops from heights of more than 6 feet. Back up all your photos quickly and easily thanks to its technology of SSD and USB Type-C for smartphones.

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Maxone 320GB Ultra Slim Portable External Hard Drive HDD USB 3.0

This hard drive is incredibly slim and portable. It is only 0.4 inches thick, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space on your desk or when you travel, but it has the capacity to store 320 GB of data. It comes with plug and play technology, so you don’t have to download any software to use it — just plug it in to the USB port and you’re ready to go!

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WD 4TB My Passport Wireless Pro Portable External Hard Drive

This hard drive can store up to 4 TB of data, and it also comes with a built-in power bank that can be used to charge your phone or other electronic devices. When connected to the My Cloud mobile app, it can even wirelessly stream 4K videos and allow you to view photos. It’s a backup device and so much more!

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Keep Your Photos and Videos Safe

Being able to access your photos from various devices is made quick and easy with Google Photos. After taking a picture on your phone, you can then edit it from your computer.

Google Photos does what it can to keep your media safe, but it’s not foolproof, and there is a chance that images could be lost to hackers or other failures of technology. This may have you asking how to backup Google photos to external hard drive to ensure you always have access to your memories.

If you are downloading a few photos, here are the steps you’ll need to follow to backup and sync your Google Photos:

  • Step 1: Sign in to Your Google Account
  • Step 2: Select Which Photos You Want to Download
  • Step 3: Download the Photos
  • Step 4: Find Your Photos
  • Step 5: Move Your Zip File
  • Step 6: Find the External Hard Drive Folder
  • Step 7: Copy the Zip File into the Hard Drive
  • Step 8: Unzip the File (Optional)

If you want to download all of your Google Photos, these are the steps you’ll follow:

  • Step 1: Sign in to Google Takeout
  • Step 2: Click “Deselect All”
  • Step 3: Find and Select Google Photos
  • Step 4: Click “Next step”
  • Step 5: Click on “Create export”
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